Singapore couple charged with leaking classified education plans for pandemic

A married couple are the latest to be charged with leaking classified information pertaining to the government’s pandemic response during last year’s circuit-breaker lockdown. 

Noorain Jubli, 38, a personal assistant for a top official at the Singapore Food Agency, and her husband, 39-year-old Khairul Annuar Zakaria, were each charged with two counts of violating the Official Secrets Act by allegedly leaking details of COVID-19 safety measures for schools before they were made public.

The police said yesterday that they were alerted to the offense through a complaint filed April 3. The couple is currently free on S$5,000 bonds and are expected to enter their pleas in June.

Noorain, who was authorized to see such pre-release statements, was accused of taking a photo of one announcing home-based learning for schools as well as the closure of preschools and student care centers. She allegedly shared that photo with her husband, who circulated it to 16 others.

The police did not elaborate on their motivations or to whom they shared the information but said those who received it would be given a warning.  

Noorain also allegedly provided to her husband a list of essential services allowed to operate during the partial lockdown. 

They each face up to two years in jail and a fine of S$2,000 (US$1,500).

Singapore has been going after those who broke the rules by sharing information during the early, anxious days of the pandemic.

Last week, the former deputy head of the Health Ministry’s data management unit was charged with leaking daily COVID-19 numbers 22 times. Her associate was also charged with soliciting updates about a COVID-19 patient.

Singapore has reported 60,865 COVID-19 cases and 30 deaths since the outbreak began, and is currently seeing a reemergence of the virus in two new clusters of infections. One of the clusters is linked to workers from Papua New Guinea while the other is connected to a 43-year-old man believed to have been reinfected with COVID-19 while he was back home in India, where the virus and its death toll have been exploding out of control, prompting Singapore to tighten travel with that country. 

Other stories you should check out:
Ex-Health Ministry staff accused of leaking COVID-19 data 22 times
ECDA ‘aware’ of preschool assignment promoting animal cruelty

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